Tag Archives: Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason Open House


Often, when I respond to others about using Ambleside Online as our curriculum, I hear a momma tell me how a Charlotte Mason education looks intense to them, how much there seems to be… and how overwhelmed they are just looking at the lists, much less implementing them.

In a discussion on the Ambleside Online forums, a discussion of what draws homeschoolers to expensive classical curriculums came about.
I made a relational connection that I think, for many mothers (certainly not all), to have something put together by someone else and telling them what to do, seems easier – perhaps they are not sure of themselves as a teacher yet or having not seen it in action, think CM is “too much.”

What CAN a Charlotte Mason home education look like?
I think if mother’s could see another family’s CM-inspired day lived out, it would not seem so overwhelming. It could be seen that this is an education attainable for anyone and beneficial for everyone.
Which brought me about to gathering some amazing, beautiful everyday mommas, who are willing to share with others what their very human lives look like, implementing Charlotte Mason’s philosophies.
There are many videos online of singular aspects of a CM education. A video of narration here, a video of nature study notebooks there, a video of dictation somewhere else… but I know in my beginning days of CM (and even now several years in!), I would have been helped to see a general idea of the flow of one subject to the next in a given day. To actually see the beauty, truth, and goodness lived out.

So, we’re putting it all in once place for you. Single subjects, to get into it a bit more “meaty,” and welcoming you to our Open House to show the spreading of the Feast each day is not only attainable, but enjoyable, challenging, and can be peace-making.

If you’d like to join us, please follow me through my RSS feed. January at Beautiful Chaos will bring you a month of videos (and pictures, posts, and quotes) from Charlotte Mason inspired homes, in a Charlotte Mason Open House.
And please, spread the word!

Energy Matters – The Science of Relations


In Dressing Your Truth, I’m a “Type 4.” I look at the world in black and white terms, am closed to who I trust (especially since having back-to-back happenings of severe betrayal from three sets of people I trusted or wanted to trust, compounded by my nature), I think about everything a lot, twisting it over and over in my mind to understand it as fully as I can.
Many times in my life I’ve had these “aha!” moments, where several things I’ve been thinking about collide and I see it’s inter-connectedness. This is something DYT system says is the most common for Type 4’s, as it is a part of “deep, still waters.”

It wasn’t until the last few years that I read Charlotte Mason’s writing about the “science of relations,” which is what I’ve been doing (and everyone does to varying degrees) my whole life, thriving on it, without having a term for it.

When Stryder was a newborn, he had a tongue and lip tie that made nursing painful, just as his sisters did. We decided to have them revised with laser, as we could see the choices we made without enough information, prevented nursing to biological normal ages. In my researching, I found that cranial-sacral therapy (CST) was strongly recommended by many parents who had their children’s ties revised, prior to and after the revision. I didn’t fully understand the explanation of CST, despite reading about it multiple times from multiple sources (this is my secondary Type 2 showing!).
I was able to get Stryder into a laser specialist 5 hours away, when he was about 1 1/2 week old – there wasn’t much time to get in for CST beforehand.
After his revisions, I was able to get him to a CST specialist. I prayed before each appointment that God would heal him of anything causing tension or pain, and make nursing a blessing for both of us. I saw wonderful improvements with his sleep (he’d actually nap each day he had a CST appointment – he was not a napper and still is not), crying, and how he moved his little body.
I was astounded at what I saw at our first appointment. Maybe most would not be astounded, but I know I have several friends and family that will think it’s not possible… or even that it’s “evil.”

(Background: When I was in my early 20’s, my ex-husband – who I was then married to – taught me a very little about pressure points. I had no problem accepting its reality and did not think it was evil.)

In our first CST appointment, the Dr used a pressure point between my eyes to show me I wouldn’t be able to hold my arm up when he applied mild pressure to my arm with one of his hands and light pressure between my eyes. I could not.
Then he told me that pressure and energy can tell us what is going on inside our bodies. But, that it is harder to gauge young children or the physically disabled in the same way, so he often uses someone else to tell him what is going on with the client’s body.
I held Stryder while he used my arm – touching Stryder’s pressure point between the eyes. I could not hold up my arm.
I went home, a sleeping Stryder in his car seat, freaking out. I kept telling Daryl how crazy it was, that I just saw Stryder’s energy flow through me… and that sounded like New Age garbage… but I saw it, it had no sense of evil, and it *worked.* Daryl was excited because I finally was seeing what he’d been saying – that God works through energy all around us, it’s in every living thing on earth…. things before, I dismissed as “off.”

Almost a year later, I was telling a friend that I was ready to, but struggling with moving forward in trauma-healing, recovering from severe PTSD, and forgiving people who had wronged me, Melody, and Daryl at various points from the criminal trail and forward.
She sent me the books Feelings: Buried Alive, Never Die and Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils.

Feelings, I expected, could help me process through some difficult issues, but I didn’t expect what else happened.

Join me tomorrow for the continuation of this journey of mine, in Faith As Small As a Mustard Seed.

Updated CM Motto printable


After listening to Cindy Rollins’ new podcast, The Mason Jar, at Circe, I was inspired to change my homeschooling inspiration board a tiny bit.


I adjusted the motto PDF here (free!), so that if you’d like to use THIS adorable mason jar template from Chia, you can.
Just set it to print at 4 pages on 1 sheet of paper, to get the correct size. Then use it as a cutting template behind the CM Motto.

Education Is An Atmosphere



There are so many wonderful posts about Charlotte Mason’s belief that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” (See bottom of the post for many of them.)

I don’t have any new thoughts or ideas on this right now, but I do have a little glimpse for others of what our external atmosphere is, flowing from a bit of the internal.

This month, after paying off our mortgage (!!!), I decided to create my own Pinterest pin, inspired by a wonderfully creative momma, Carla. I’ve had this pinned for a little while and loved it, but with our finances well beneath paycheck-to-paycheck, it was way at the bottom of a want list, which was way beneath a growing need list.

image It ended up costing about $2. I had the frame, a pillowcase, the baker’s twine for the bunting, the scrapbook paper, and the push pins. I bought foam board ($1 at the Dollar Tree), ribbon ($1, but I used well under 1/4 of the roll) from Hobby Lobby, and printed off everything else (I’m thinking, with our inkjet, it’s under $1 for all the printed stuff).

The pillowcase fit JUST over the foam board, which fit JUST inside the frame. I then put a layer of cardboard on the back and tacked it in with brass tacks, adding the ribbon for a way to hang the frame.

Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies are what we mostly follow, so it was easy to be inspired by the goodness, beauty, and truth on Carla’s wall! I did make a simple CM’s children’s motto (it really is good human conduct, for any age) in my own colors and fonts (and I avoid “country” for a reason). If you like the font/color that I used, I’ll link my free PDF below.

image There’s a very large screw holding up the ribbon/frame, and I thought it was tacky, so I printed another long-awaited Pinterest find, the song bird, to cover the screw, after gluing it to some heavier cardboard.

I feel very happy with this. Melody has gone over to the board several times in the last week that it’s been up, reading over the words and looking at her schedule (which begins next week). Daryl, Melody, and I all think it’s relaxing… which is my aim in our learning environment, inside and out.

“Education is An Atmosphere” Encouragement:

Atmosphere Begins With Me

A Beautiful Home Atmosphere

Do Not Sit Up Late: Three Practical Do Not’s

Creating a Mason Atmosphere on a Dime

Secrets From Charlotte Mason for Scheduling for Peace


The motto print (purple, blue, and green) can be saved/printed here.

G.K. Chesterton quote.

The song bird can be found here.

You can find the Family Rules here.

The squirrel coloring page can be found here.

The chalkboard bunting is from Cottage Market (I altered the “I” piece to make the colon).

I altered the Chore Chart from The Project Girl to meet my desires, as Carla did.

July Challenge: Quotes!


I am excited to participate in a blogging challenge, hosted by Jennifer and Lynn, to get the blogging “mojo” flowing.

July Blogging Challenge

What a great idea, ladies! Thank you for hosting this.

Today, the second of July is Quotes, and it comes at a perfect timing, as I just wrapped up my 2nd semester of a Mother’s Feast, and I want to take note of some of my favorite, inspiring quotes from books that I read through.

Let’s start out with two quotes that have been so fully realized in this semester, that, while I’d read these via other’s books or blogs before, it finally became alive to me, and has helped me be put more at ease about Melody’s learning schedule. That is, the science of relations:

“Education is the Science of Relations’; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
‘Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'”
~ Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education , with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

“The art of standing aside to let a child develop the relations proper to him is the fine art of education, when the educator perceives the two things he must do and how to do these two things. The evolution of the individual is a natural sequence of the opening up of relations.”
~Charlotte Mason, School Education

The last few months has been the first time I’ve seen it so very clearly… that letting things alone, just reading, interacting with others, enjoying nature and the arts, simply being… will result in making connections necessary to each person. I mean, yes, I have experienced that my entire life, but I hadn’t experienced it with Charlotte Mason’s thoughts about relations running in the back of my brain. It has helped me feel less stress about if I am *cramming* enough into Melody’s learning schedule. If I can obtain beautiful connections, with quite meager readings (a chapter or two out of one or two books a day), Melody surely can with a wider array of educational feast planned into each day.

Some of my other quotes from this semester collide together in different ways that I am soon to write about, but I will share them simply as the beautiful or inspiring quotes that they are, all on their own.

“As I stated earlier, these unresolved feeling vibrations can never be considered dead and buried, because they are energies that are still alive – resonating at some level. And these feelings will manifest themselves somewhere, sometime. Their vibrations are on-going. How liberating it is to know that any negative on-going vibrations you are storing inside you can be transformed into permanent, positive, healing energy vibrations.”
~ Karol K. Truman, Feelings: Buried Alive, Never Die…

“We close, then, imagining ourselves in conversation with Pilate, with one who only understands politics from the point of view of human agency and expedience. He can get us off the hook. We can defend our positions and interests, and perhaps go back to Galilee. Or, if we choose, we can steer the conversation by saying that we operate out of a completely different political context, one that prizes divine revelation and human relationality. The risk of taking this position, though, is that as we claim an alternative political identity, we may suffer the consequences that involve shame and disgrace. At a minimum,  we will be misunderstood by the majority. In the end, if we have the courage to testify of God’s newness through this nonaction, it will be our belief in the power of agape love that leads us to refrain from participating in the conventional forms of power management. This trust in the power of agape love would, to be sure, reflect the nature of our true citizenship.”
~Ted Lewis, Electing Not to Vote: Christian Reflections on Reasons for Not Voting

“Spirituality that saves men from hell and keeps men from vulgar sins is wonderful, but, I believe, elementary. When Paul went to the Cross, the miracle of conversion and regeneration took place; but later when he got on the Cross, the greater miracle of identification took place. That I believe is the masterly argument of the Apostle – to be dead and alive at the same time. “Ye are dead,” Paul wrote the Galatians. Suppose we try this on ourselves first. Are we dead? – dead to blame or praise? dead to fashion and human opinion? dead so that we have no itch for recognition? dead so that we do not squirm if another gets praised for a thing that we engineered? Oh sweet, sublime, satisfying experience of the indwelling Christ by the Spirit!”
~ Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries

“Yes, this is a major paradigm shift in how we view health and wellness. It means you have power and control over your own health, but it also means you have to take some responsibility and initiative in terms of making the time to read it, learn it and live it.
~ Amy Yasko, Feel Good Nutrigenomics

“In contrast, one of the hallmark characteristics of Jesus’ ministry is that His disciples were with Him. If you think about it, three years wasn’t a long time for Him to prepare eleven of His twelve closest followers to establish the church. But it was three years of being with Jesus – of talking with Him every day, listening to His teaching, watching His miracles, feeling His embrace – that made that time long enough. You have a lot longer than three years to spend with each of your children, but that may not be long enough if they are seldom with you. If culture gets more of your children than you do, then it’s time to reclaim your God-given nurturing role in their lives.”
~ Clay Clarkson, Heartfelt Discipline

If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Okay… so this isn’t a quote, but a picture from the book I just finished reading, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief by Katy Bowman, but it’s said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right?

Imagine putting any degree of lift (heel on a shoe) under one side of a bookshelf in your home like this! YIKES. Image: copyright Restorative Exercise, Inc.

A Mother’s Feast, First Semester’s End


From this point forward, I am referring to Mother Culture as A Mother’s Feast, and am taking part with a collective of mother’s who are also carving out enrichment time.

Despite not knitting often, I still worked on a Doctor Who scarf… slowly.

As my first semester of my first not-pregnant Mother Culture schedule comes to a close, I am left with many thoughts, which I would like to compile rather haphazardly here.

1) Doing this, regularly, takes a LOT of determination. Nursing Stryder, Leela’s desire to snuggle or “throw a tantrum,” cooking, cleaning, and ensuring Melody is staying to task… these are rightfully and joyously calling my attention during the day. It is much easier to say, “my brain needs a break, I can catch up on Revival Tarries tomorrow night.” Sometimes, I did this. But it made my time reading feel more crunched and I was trying to digest larger chunks of a book.
I barely ever took time out to practice my violin or to knit. It happened very little. Considering that within Charlotte Mason’s educational foundation is an immersion/appreciation in the beauty of the arts and handicrafts, I feel disappointed in myself. Though, I have 3 more semesters of this year to rectify my desire to include these things on a regular basis, so I am not letting that drag me down.

2) I don’t know why, but I am nervous TO NARRATE, despite that it’s not difficult, I do it all the time with my friends and family when relaying information I’ve read before… and yet, just telling myself I want TO NARRATE makes it feel stuffy. So, I am learning to be more open with Melody about this, and just asking her what she read about, how would she tell me as a reporter, etcetera. As, hearing, “Please narrate what you read for me,” for me, makes me feel pressure… and I don’t want that for her or anyone!
As an aside, I am beginning written narration in the second semester, and I’m going to brave it and share it here. I’d love a Charlotte Mason follower to give me a pass or fail, with or without effort, and use a rubric with me!

3) Reading How To Read a Book with Melody helped me be willing to completely halt books in my Mother Culture schedule. I actually set aside 2 books (Weedless Gardening and Know Your Fats) after reading this from HTRAB:

“You have now skimmed the book systematically; you have given it the first type of inspectional reading. You should know a good deal about the book at this point, after having spent no more than a few minutes, at most an hour, with it. In particular, you should know whether the book contains matter that you still want to dig out, or whether it deserves no more of your time and attention. You should also be able to place the book even more accurately than before in your mental card catalogue, for further reference if the occasion should ever arise.
Incidentally, this is a very active sort of reading. It is impossible to give any good book an inspectional reading without being alert, without having all of one’s faculties awake and working.”

4) I love attempting this, and succeeding, not pregnant. I attempted a Mother Culture schedule while pregnant with Stryder and quickly lost steam a month in. Pregnancy can make brain fog a very real thing!

5) More in-depth, I am truly seeing clearly how subjects overlap and connections are made. I could see it, and have experienced it several times before, but I am regularly experiencing it while consciously offering myself a planned out, scheduled feast of brain-food goodness.
It reminds me very much of cooking, the Mother’s Feast: singularly, a food (let’s say an apple) may be worthwhile. It may even be spectacular (especially if we are talking about Pink Ladies – okay, off topic). Somehow, that one singular apple is transformed from spectacular to magical, when combined with other singular foods or spices (cinnamon, sugar, almonds, butter, lemon juice). And this leads me to my next thought that Mother Culture has proven to me:

6) A Mother’s Feast has to be prepared. To turn the apple into magical from spectacular, you must cut the apples, pulse the almonds, melt the butter, and mix it all together to get an apple crisp. To truly be nourished from our reading, we must plan for it. We may obtain nutrients to survive from the apple alone, but we thrive and are truly nourished, into our comfort-food loving souls, when we take the time to prepare for an apple crisp. If we want our minds to be nourished, we must plan for it, prepare time, energy, and supplies, to create that rich environment. It seldom happens by accident.

7) Recognizing this at the end of the semester actually helped me be more decided with Ambleside Online for the children. I was becoming tired and weary with constantly asking Melody to stick to task, and was contemplating unschooling. I know that unschooling is not generally just sending your children out into the woods all day, but I also know it’s not preparing a feast and having hungry minds devour it, even in Charlotte Mason-inspired unschooling situations. Preparation doesn’t matter if a child doesn’t consume it, if a mother doesn’t consume it.

Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography

This is a picture on page 15 of this PDF book.

 I haven’t yet said it on this new blog, but I adore Ambleside Online, I thought I would share with you the PDF file I made of Charlotte Mason’s book, Elementary Geography, which I was able to easily format because of the wonderful work accomplished HERE.

he problems was, I want to print two pages from the book onto one side of paper, and I was not able to do that from the website directly. So, I copy and pasted the text, gave it a new font, saved and inserted all the pictures, and viola! created a PDF file for easier printing.

If anyone would like me to reformat with larger/smaller print or bigger pictures, please contact me, and it would be my pleasure to do so and make available for free here, as another PDF file.

Here is the PDF file of this gem by Charlotte Mason: Elementary Geography